So what did you think of the pre-dinner light show in Arvada?
Freaking fantastic! But what really made the experience complete was the four-pack of Sofia blanc de blanc you brought. Especially for a Jew, could there be anything better than drinking bubbly from a can in the backseat of a car parked before such a blazing display of Yuletide chaos?
Christmas burns bright at 12177 E 58th Pl in Arvada
So I heard the Director got sick. Too many tacky holiday lights? Or bad arepas?
Nah—I think it was just the sheer amount of heavy food & red wine. I eat & drink to grotesque excess so often my stomach’s like my own inner abuse victim; it whimpers now and then, but its way too afraid to turn on me.
The appetizers were probably the best part of the meal. Which was your favorite?
The arepas were excellent—at once fluffy & almost creamy, filled with a queso fresco that had a nice, slightly salty character. And though the chips it came with were stale, the simple, citrusy ceviche was well executed too, containing just red pepper, red onion & cilantro to highlight the firm chunks of orange roughy, topped with avocado pico de gallo. It was a falsely promising start...
The wine was maybe the next best thing. Thoughts from a wine expert in training?
Concha y Toro is Chile’s largest winery, & I think there's a widespread assumption is that the wines are just cheap, easy drinkers, but the Casillera del Diablo Carménère is really pretty decent. On the nose, Carménère ranges from startlingly strong bell pepper or jalapeno notes to those of chocolate & spices; this is one of the latter, very plummy on the palate. Not super-complex, but fun.
Describe your dish again. How exactly was that cream sauce?
I had the ravioli de frijoles con pollo, which was interesting, if not entirely successful. The theoretically bold flavor combination—black beans & roasted onion inside the ravioli, blackened chicken & gorgonzola sauce on top—was undermined by clumsiness: the pasta dough was too thick & chewy, and the cheese sauce had the color & consistency of Liquid Paper—weirdly sticky. It would also have been strangely bland without the juices from the chicken mixing into it—although how they got there is a bit of mystery; you wouldn’t think a blackened chicken breast would release that much liquid onto the plate.
And the Director's arepas de carne mechada?
Again, the arepas themselves were great, & their presentation was delightful, sandwiched between a mound of beef tinga & another of avocado pico de gallo & lettuce, drizzled with crema fresca. But the beef was just awful—rather than gaining from a smoky, tangy, & oniony simmer, it seemed to have just been tossed in sugary canned tomato sauce. Such a bummer.
What was up with my salad?
I think they forgot the oil in the dressing on the baby spinach! It just tasted like vinegar, salt, & red pepper flakes.
Did you really get up and go work out at 7am the next morning?
Um, almost. Skipped my yoga class but made it to step aerobics at 8. If I weren’t fairly disciplined about exercise, I’d be a butterball. As it is I’m an I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butterball—still plenty soft & greasy.
The meal was entirely mediocre and questionably poisonous, but somehow we had a great time. We also talked a lot about Don DeLillo, what is your favorite line from White Noise again?
“Do not advance the action according to a plan.” Which is exactly what we did (not do)! Though it has far more complex, both melancholy & sinister connotations in the novel, out of context it could easily accord with the Italian concept of dolce far niente (sweet doing nothing): just go with the flow alongside people whose company you value; eat, drink, be merry.
Would I go back? Visit Denveater's site for my take on Red Tango or travel to Wheat Ridge and go see for yourself.